Monday, March 18, 2013

March 18, 2013 I'm in Caguas! There are Coquis!

My first view of Puerto Rico March 12, 2013
Well, I finally made it to Puerto Rico!  It was a hard transition from the CCM, BUT time goes on.  Okay.  Quick random happenings this week (since there's not a lot of time to go into too much detail about everything):

Hermanas Bean y Esquen
General info: My companion is Hna. Esquen, from Spain!  She's 23 and speaks a little bit of English.  It took a few days, but we're communicating alright, with A LOT of Spanglish, sign language, and BIG facial expressions! Haha THANK HEAVENS I know some ASL!   Haha We share the apartment with Hna. Sullivan (from my CCM District!!) and her companion (who has zero English and sometimes gets frustrated at us. . . because of our inability to communicate).  My companion is WONDERFUL and is very sweet. <3  :) 

 I'm getting used to the driving rules and style here in PR.  I'm gonna be starting a "blessing book" for everyday. 

I finally heard the little frogs – called Coquis – famous for their “singing” at night!  Instead of dead deer on the sides of the road, we have dead iguanas.  Everywhere. It's not a pretty sight.  And the language... I've let go of being careful with Spanish.  I'm just blabbing out whatever I can even if the grammar is COMPLETELY wrong, and the order isn't correct.  I'm just blurting out whatever, with as much confidence as I can muster, and amazingly, it's been well received.  I LOVE contacting and I can pray a little, bear my testimony and read. That's about it.  The language will be  slow going.

Okay, NOW onto how the days are going for me. :)

Mar 12:  The plane ride from the DR to Puerto Rico was 45 minutes.  We instantly met Pres. Alvarado, and then had a grand PASTA lunch at his (mansion of a) house.  We
had a VERY spiritual interview/talk at his house, just him and me.  He told me, "I feel something more different from you than the others, something I have never felt before.  You are supposed to be here, to do many things."  VERY powerful stuff like that. Whew.  With a lot of tears. We were both crying a little.

Mar 13:  LONG orientation at the Mission Office.  But it was good, and I paid attention to the overwhelming information about EVERYTHING.  That night, I had to drive to the new apartment in the dark, in unfamiliar territory, new car, new companion who could barely say, "Lef.  Ri.  Strai," as necessary directions to get to Caguas!  BOY, was I focused, praying ’til it hurt, and hoping I didn't run over any animals...! I was so grateful we made it there safely, as soon as I got into the apt, I cried.

Mar 14: Lunch at Burger King, cause I can't digest the weird-flavored food here yet.  Makes me sick instantly.  While at Burger King, I heard English and Spanish songs (including "Azul" the only fun Spanish song I know! Haha!)  There was a very nice- looking family nearby that I felt prompted to give a family pamphlet, too, so we did. :)  SO cool.  Later in the day, I was getting physically hurt from all the biking (we are in a bike and car area).  Around 6:30pm, we went to a member’s house: Hna.Garcia. THE NICEST woman ever!  Her children are all on missions or living in the states, her husband died a while ago, so it's just her and her little black dog.  She speaks English and helped me a lot that night. I was SUPER homesick and she comforted me VERY well.  She is so sweet. I'm grateful for her.

Mar 15:  We hermanas took over four hours for basic errands just cause of the lack of language.  HUGE language barrier.  VERY frustrating day. Both Hna Sullivan and I were in tears around dinner time.  Luckily though, the experienced and English-speaking Hermana Wilson came to visit us.  She’s kind of a trainer/supervisor. She has such a strong testimony!  She sat with us in our apartment bedroom, and listened to our complaints and strugglings, and shared her thoughts and feelings, and everything began to get better. She is amazing. WOW.  I'm SO grateful for her.

Mar 16:  Hna. Esquen and I visited with a middle-aged man who is a little slow, but very, very sweet.  We did a lot of contacting, and my confidence is gradually increasing.  But it goes up and down every other hour... Haha.  Oh the joy of a mission. :)
Around 4:30pm, Hna. Wilson left to go help train other new companionships.  She answered SO many questions for me. And before she left, she told me, "You can do it.  Like the Lion King, Remember who you are.  He lives in you.  Preach His gospel.  You can do it."   She is so amazing and very, very spiritually centered.  Around 6pm, Hna. Esquen and I visited the sweet, petite and lovable Hna. Lydia Silva. She adores me and I her!  She has 5 dogs, rents a house, and dreams of owning her own.  She needs to work some things out before she can get baptized.  While trying to drive home that night, we accidentally went up the WRONG way road!  It was funny afterwards.

Mar 17:  I LOVE church!  The members are so interested in new missionaries, and loved talking to me in both Spanish and English.  Haha.  A lot of them know English so it's helpful to learn from them what I can.  After Sacrament meeting, I ran into a couple, the Hunts.  They're from Utah, and they were visiting Caguas for their wedding anniversary because Bro. Hunt had served his mission here. :)  We talked for an hour, and it was very, very comforting.  He also showed me his pictures back in 1974!!  And his wife was SOO kind to me.  We really connected fast. It was a huge blessing to talk with them.  And Bro. Hunt told me that I will be able to read the language first, then speak it second, then understand it last.  It takes A LOT of time.  After church, we hermanas chased a gecko around the apartment ’til it finally got outside.  Imagine us yelping and running around.  Yes.  It was funny!! We made a weird lunch.  Spaghetti with Salsa Cheese Dip as the flavor... Haha.  It was bearable.  We visited a mom named Nesha.  I cried a little bit, bearing my testimony.  Luckily, she got the point of what I was saying. :)  Afterwards, we did TONS of contacts, for the rest of the day, with a member named Hna. Caraballo.  Very, very productive. :)  Met a lot of different people along the same street so that's easy!  :)  And I've memorized our cell phone number, to write on the back of handouts.
This is my study area in the apartment.

Mar 18: Happy B-day to my Aunt Kim! We cleaned the apartment/house (it's really a condo house), cleaned the car, and studied some.  :)  A new week begins!  I hope all is well.  I'll email next week!  I'll see about sending more pictures.  The computer we are using in the local library takes A VERY long time to load pictures. Love you!  I pray for you!  Keep yourselves out of trouble!  Love, Hna. Emily Bean

Friday, March 15, 2013

March 12, 2013 Hermana Bean has arrived in Puerto Rico

Update from Hermana Emily's mom: 
Hermana Bean and her CCM district arrived safely on March 12.  Here are a couple of pictures sent by office staff from the Puerto Rico San Juan Mission.  
CCM District 4 plus two new elders (on left)
with President and Hermana Alvarado (center)

Hermana Bean
Hermana Bean between Hermana and President Alvarado

March 7, 2013 Last email from the CCM!

Hello Everyone!  This is my last P-day in the CCM!  I can’t believe it!  I’m heading to Puerto Rico soon (leaving at 5am on Tuesday morning)!  Here’s how this week went!  Love you all! (P.S. Didn't have enough time to attach any photos, so no pictures).
Tues. Feb 26:  I think I’ve made over 300 flashcards now that consist of phrases, words, and scripture references in Espanol. Whew!  During Gym, the hermanas (sister missionaries) were tired, so I wrote in my journal and braided 2 bracelets for my friend and personal tutor Rosa Laureano (a gift for her before I go).  The colorful one is made with all her favorite colors!  The blue one consists of 2 shades that are similar to the blue speckled necklace gem she gave me in early February.  The gem is “larimar” made from the ocean here in the DR.  It symbolizes strength, and Rosa’s love and friendship.  (She told me that when she gave it to me.)  So in response to her gift, I thought it’d be cool if I, too, gave her the same symbol-meaning-colors, to mean how much I care for her and our friendship. The day ended with the fastest shower I’ve ever taken: 4.5 minutes!  Mom, you would have been shocked!  I am proud of myself, and I’m becoming a better missionary.
Wed. Feb 27:  My companions and I are improving our investigator lessons!  Our
“investigator” Kamila is responding very well to how we’re teaching!  We’re finding a better balance!  And I made a MILLION flashcards today!  They’re ready to use!  During my time with Hna. Laureano, we got through about 50 flashcards (mostly verbs and things I like to do).  Fully memorized.  And I’m reading better.  Hna. Larueano and
Hno. Rubio say my rrrs are very latino!   Gym time, I ran .72 miles. I got too tired to do a full mile on the treadmill.  Dinner, we had PIZZA! And the rest of the day was of course, full of study in the classroom!

Thurs. Feb 28:  Goodbye February!  It’s been a great, crazy month!  We went to the temple for our P-day and did initiatories plus an endowment session in English.  My dear friend Hna. Laureano did part of the initiatories, so that was extra special to me.  I felt a little sick afterwards, so I took a quick power nap before lunch.  Email time was lovely!  Gracias Mom, Elder David (my twin bro!), and Elder Pena!  During free-time, the hermanas and I thoroughly cleaned the room and bathroom. I wrote more in my journal, while listening to flowing classical piano music, wrote a couple postcards to Mom and Jonathan, and put in some Crest strips for 30 minutes. Haha.  The rest of the day was regular, vigorous study.  We practiced lessons again with “Jose” (role played by Hno. Rubio), and afterwards, he challenged me that next time we teach him, I don’t read or bring ANY notes. Ughhhhhhhh!  Challenge accepted.

Fri. Mar 1:  Well, hello March!  It’s been a month that I’ve been here!  Really!!  Gosh, it feels like 6 months, yet 2 weeks. Today was a BIG day. Before breakfast, we got “Dear” letters.  Thanks Mom and Marissa Erickson!!!  I was asked to be the Senior companion for 5 days.  And at 1:30pm, we hermanas got into a van with two Elders, and we drove a good distance away from the CCM, to experience what it’s like in the mission field for 7.5 hours today!  At one point we drove right next to the ocean!  It was gorgeous and the waves crashing on the banks were magnificent!  The van squeezed between houses and drove through roads that scribble all over the place!  We met up with four Dominican Republic sister missionaries, and I went with the most experienced: a tall, brunette named Hermana Ball.  She has just 25 days left till she goes home!  We got along instantly, and she helped me so much!!  Theses are the things we did: 1) we visited a Mom and her little boy who live in a beautiful apt.  She doesn’t come to church, but has received all the lessons.  We asked her to recommit to living the Word of Wisdom.  I shared my testimony.  2) We met with Bonnie and her daughter Camilla (who just got baptized). There was A LOT of talking; Camilla showed me her coloring book and said she likes my “Barbie Belt” (my peach-colored belt).  I said the closing prayer.  Hna. Ball and I got some ice cream, and we went contacting to a couple of houses-apartments. 3) We talked with a teenager named Anderson (baptized Sat the 2nd!).  I shared 1 Nephi 3: 7 (I had him read it) and then he asked me to say the closing prayer.  4)  At 6pm we walked our way to the church bldg for a meeting. Then at 8pm the van picked us up.  I enjoyed the relaxing, air conditioned ride back to the CCM.  When we got back I found I had gotten a package from my mom!!! And there was a letter from my Aunt and Uncle, too!  The day was wonderful!!!  Hna. Ball was so humble, balanced, and sweet.  She eased me into what missionary work is like.  The day was full of numerous blessings and new experiences!  And I actually went into people’s houses!  That’s what missionaries do, and I’ve been sent to teach.

Sat. Mar 2:  Elder Hall had an extra pocketsize Himnos (hymn book) and offered it to me.  YEAH!  Around 3pm my district asked me to end class with a song called “Stand.”  (Megan Sackett sings it!  And Brad Robins and Bradley are in the music video!)  So, I sang it a cappella.  Gym, we did some serious volleyball!  My team had me serve the majority of the time because I send the ball the highest.  The entire day was pretty normal, nothing too random. 
Sun. Mar 3:   Fast Sunday.  I bore my testimony in Spanish, but for some reason I was extremely nervous and wrote it down ahead of time. So, I was the only who read it.  It was embarrassing, but hey, I was scared.  The Devotional film was with Elder Scott.  Great pointers for the field!  He also stressed the need for us to prayerfully seek out an eternal companion after our mission and not to just hang out, or in his words, “Do idleness in flocks.”  SO FUNNY!   8:30pm we all walked around the temple quietly humming hymns.  It was very calm and spiritual.  9pm planning:  Pres. Freestone took an updated picture of our District!  So we can see a Before and AFTER!  J  
Mon. Mar 4:  I felt like sharing my goodies from Mom’s package with my district, so everyone got a Lifesaver mint and a handful of Skittles.  The Elders were so grateful, they gave us Oreos!  SCORE!  During a 10 min. break, Elders Nadauld and Van Deventer and I played a bottle-throwing tape game.  Haha.  After lunch, I met with President Freestone, and we had a very nice farewell interview!  I showed Hna. Laureano Mom´s package and she tried Skittles for the first time.  She loves them! And she said, “Yoh Mama is making ahn effort with Spanish!” (probably because of the Spanish translations Mom had written in the back of one of the notebooks so I can ask for paper, index cards and other supplies I’ll need in the future).  6:00pm TRC practice. The Shavers were gone, so our substitute “investigator”couple was Pres. and Sis. Freestone!!!!!  SO nerve-racking.  We taught in their apartment room.  A rare experience.  The rest of the day was good.
Tues. Mar 5:  A member of the Seventy came for Devotional.  Elder Zivic.  He spoke in Spanish, and all the Americans wore headsets to listen to Hna. Laureano translate in English. CRAZY!  I felt like a foreigner, which I am - DER!  The 4 hermanas and I
sang “Senor, Te Necesito” a cappella for the musical number.  It was wonderful.  Elder Zivic’s talk was helpful and specific.  He reminded me of Mr. Allred (my HS orchestra teacher).  So...Mr. Allred!  You have a Spanish-speaking twin!  My time with Rosa Laureano was special.  We talked and cried about the mission field and our friendship.  Gym, I played more volleyball, got more bruises... I’m the only hermana brave
enough to hit the ball to the Elders!!  Haha. The day ended with Hno. Nunez substituting for Hno. Rubio.  We focused on the book of Omni (in The Book of Mormon) - in depth!  It was very interesting!!!!  
Wed. Mar 6: I felt very frustrated all morning, but through quiet, continuous study,
I eventually got over it.  Whew!  Ahhhhh... 6 days left.  I’m not even close to ready.  What’s weird is that I want to get out in the field, and I want to stay in the CCM (at the same time).  Bleh!  Well, 1:30pm finally came and I was with my close friend Hna. Laureano.  We talked, and I made a “Happy Birthday” banner for our District’s last P-day. We’re all going to celebrate each other’s b-days together!  Haha.  Around 4:30pm, Hna Laureano and I walked around the temple and sat on the lawn.  We’re always laughing and chatting so comfortably.  We’re like sisters!  5:15pm dinner, I had a nice, Spanglish conversation with Elder Salazar.  HA!  At 9:30pm at family prayer I found out I got two surprise packages during the day!!  My cousin Michael came to the CCM today (he’s here on business w/ his engineering company).  He brought 2 packages for me from home, which included more study supplies, family pics, letters, a tiny wrapped package (to open on Easter), a blouse my mom repaired, and treats—all in a Target bag.  YES!  I am soooo grateful for this huge blessing!  It was nice to know a member of the family had been VERY close by!  Everyone in my district says “Thanks for the Milk Duds!”  Ha ha!  I love you, Mom!  And Family! 
Thurs. Mar 7: Last Temple experience. I focused on every little detail and enjoyed the work.  The name I did for the Endowment session was Maria Cruz Marquez Laureano, from Puerto Rico, 1897.  That was amazing to me.  Laureano!  Puerto Rico!  Of course, I thought of my dear friend and teacher here in the CCM.  Later, I opened mail that had come.  Thanks Mom, Christy, Michael, Jonathan, Elder David, Elder Pena, and Katie Armantrout!!!!  I love receiving letters and emails! It calms my homesickness and makes me sooo happy!  Gracias!  Next time I write, I’ll be in Puerto Rico!
What a journey this has been.  I love you all and am grateful for this life-changing experience.  I hope all is well at home!  I am grateful I could sleep right next
to the Santo Domingo temple each night.  It has been my own strengthening night light.  I will miss the DR, the Temple, and the guidance and care of President Freestone and Rosa Laureano. 

I love you all!  Till next time, Hermana Bean

Feb 28, 2013 “If you think you can, then you can!”

Do-it-yourself haircut!
Feb 21:  At 4:30pm while my hermanas were writing, I decided to trim 3-4 inches off my hair.  I had a lot of split ends and my hair was getting too long. I can’t describe how hilarious it was when Hermanas Burgess and Sullivan gasped at my handiwork! :) They weren’t expecting to look up at me holding scissors and hair pieces in my hand!  Ha ha :) But they were impressed with the finished look.  

Had to get a snapshot of this!

 A few minutes later, I asked the Haitian sisters if we could practice our musical number for Sunday. We’re singing "Je suis enfant de Dieu/I am a child of God" in French (and a little bit of English).  Before we practiced, we noticed Soeur Telcy and I were wearing the same flipflops! 
Because they are the only Haitian sisters here, and the only ones who speak French, it’s hard to include them, so I'm VERY grateful I know this hymn in French, and I can sing it with Soeur Telcy on Sunday before the Haitian missionaries return to Haiti.  :)  Gracias, Mom for teaching me this song!  Preparation day ended with regular study.

Feb 22:  From 3-4:30pm we went contacting at the University- to give people pamphlets about the gospel.  For over an hour my companions did all the talking while I stood to the side. They speak way better Spanish than I do, but still, I felt so frustrated. Everyone they talked ignored me until I said a happy "Mucho gusto!"  No bueno.  We were deciding where to go next, and I saw a girl sitting by herself, slowly brushing her hair. I felt a strong surge of energy to go talk to her.  I told my companions to follow me, and I briskly walked over to the girl: "Hola! Como esta?  Bien?  Bueno bueno.  Mi nombre es Hermana Bean.  Cual es su nombre?  Okay!  Somos misionaras de La Iglesia de Jesucristo de Los Santos de Los Ultimos Dias."  My companions then continued the conversation, and at the end, they asked me to bear my testimony.  "Si.  Yo se que Dios nos ama, y yo se que fe en Jesucristo y Dios, nuestro Padre Celestial, es bueno.  Mi vida es mejor porque yo se que."  That's basically what I said. :)  Without any help, or reading it.  It was the first time I spoke Espanol from MY knowledge.  YEAHHH!!!!!!!   We then left her with a pamphlet, and we were all 10x happier. We were all proud, and thankful for this experience.

Hermanas Walker and Bean :)
A couple hours later our language teacher Hno. Rubio had us go outside the CCM bldg to chat with the Latinos.  The hermanas and I spoke to like 14 youth.  When I said "Antes mi mision, yo estudiaba musica.  Cantar..." they instantly asked me to sing for them. They even started to chant!  SO I sang the EFY chorus of "Come to the Mountain of the Lord."  Then they wanted Hno. Rubio, Hna. Butler and me to sing "Silent Night."  The key was set too high, but we stayed on pitch. The youth enjoyed the mini talent show. Haha.  At 9pm, an American hermana from the all-girl district, Hermana Walker (a wonderful friend!), and I noticed we wore the exact same outfit today!  We didn't plan it!  How crazy awesome is that?! 
Before bed, I said my first Spanglish prayer without reading it, in companion prayer.  :) I said even more Spanish words that I (mostly) memorized.  :)  It was a great day!

Feb 23:   The only thing different other than studying was that during free time, the hermanas in my district and I did a hilarious laughing game, in our room.  We laid on our backs in a row and took turns laughing softly to loudly.  SO funny!  Another good one was to open your mouth as far as you can, and pretend to laugh.  :)  That was fun, too!    

I drew this sign 2 days ahead of time, so it would be ready for this picture on Sunday!
Feb 24:   HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!  I thought about you the ENTIRE day! 
For breakfast, there was banana bread, (a family tradition-ish). In the middle of the sacrament meeting Soeur Telcy, Soeur Cuenot (a teacher), and I sang "I Am A Child of God" in French/English (thanks to Mom for teaching me during my childhood.)  A lot of the Haitians told me "Abbie Beh-rthdee to yoh Mama!" throughout the day. :) During personal time, I looked up "Mother" in the Topical Guide, and remembered the wonderful verses in Alma about mothers. :)  We watched a video called Legacy (my mom loves the pioneers!) 

Cats on the temple grounds
At 6pm, I saw 3 beautiful cats walking around the temple (first time since leaving Gypsy). These are the first cats I've seen in the DR!  I've seen a lot of dogs, some cute, others scary, looking rough and sick and hungry on the streets - :( No bueno.  But these cats looked so cute just trotting around the temple grounds!

 We all watched a devotional filmed in the Provo MTC back in April 2012 that featured Elder Ballard (amazing) and a musical number "The Spirit of God" sung by Elder Archuleta.  His performance was powerful, emotional, and tender. WOW. After the devotional video, I read my Patriarchal Blessing (Mom's my friend!). The rest of the evening was rough because I was missing my mom's birthday for the first time in my life.  I felt lonely and super sad, BUT the things I saw and experienced today helped me a lot.  Really, the day was wonderful, and I'm grateful for the blessings of love I received. :)
Feb 25:  I was mostly quiet the whole day, and fasted a little bit.  At 2pm the hermanas and I went down to the temple laundry room and folded temple and ceremonial clothing as a way to give service.  :)  At 3:45pm I took a short nap!  :) 6pm was TRC (where we role play giving a lesson) with the Shavers. :)  Near the end of our "lesson" they asked me to sign something in ASL ("I am a Child of God"), and asked me a couple questions about the language. :)   At family prayer, I got 2 postcards from Mom and Jonathan! Gracias! 

Soeurs Telcy and Formetus with Hermana Bean

Tonight was also the Haitians last night. The two Soeurs (Telcy and Formetus) and I said a long goodbye in their room. It included taking pictures, journal messages, talking, showing my family pictures... (Soeur Telcy thinks David is handsome, haha! and she wants to call Mom after her mission). We cried a little.  Soeur Telcy said, "Eh lahf oo." She's so sweet. 

The Soeurs were a comfort to me because my mom was a "Soeur" on her mission. :) My favorite Haitians were Soeur Telcy, and young Elder Sintyl. :)  I will miss them dearly.

I love you all and keep you in my prayers!   Have a wonderful week!  :)

Until next time - Love, Hermana Bean


Feb 21, 2013 Third week in the CCM (MTC-DR)

Here’s a quick rundown of this past week (in pictures and words):

Every morning I can see the DR Flag being raised. 

We have PE, but the sisters also like to workout in our dorm rooms.

A voice lesson for the CCM instructors!

Feb 14:  Two of my language teachers (Hermanos Nunez and Rodriguez) asked me to give them a voice lesson, so I did for 40 minutes!  I used remote controls (in place of my hands) to check their breathing as I taught them how to breathe correctly.  I basically pretended to be Gayle (my awesome voice teacher!). It was VERY satisfying. I MISS YOU, GAYLE!

New skill:  I'm becoming very good at whistling!  Like as good as Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins.  The Haitians especially like it. :)

Guess what:  Five of the ten new American sisters (who arrived Feb 13) know ASL! We sign sometimes, which always makes me happy. :)  

Feb15:  My companion Hna. Butler got sick, so I stayed with her while she slept.  For 3 hours I got to study my way (haha):  sitting on my top bunk bed with the temple in sight, with soft music. :)  Later that day, Hna Butler was still too sick to eat anything, BUT I brought some bouillon with me.  We went down to the empty kitchen, and I made some broth for her- which she loved!  I'm grateful I could serve my companion in that way. :)  
Feb 16:  I helped practice greeting to the new all-girl district.  We had a good long chat!! My confidence went sky high that morning!  Mid-day, during gym, I ran just over a mile on the treadmill.  It was nice!   Before dinner, all my Spanish teachers and companions wanted to hear me sing, so I sang "I Know that My Redeemer lives.”   At dinner, Elder Joseph (from Haiti) told me I sound the most French of all the other Americans.  That's probably because I grew up hearing my mom (who is a return missionary from the France Paris Mission) speak some French in our home, and sing “I am a child of God” in French (Je suis enfant de Dieu).  :)  

My district's sisters pose for a picture with the new all-sister district.

Feb 17:  I heard the sacrament prayers in French for the first time ever!   During free-time, I had the two Haitian sisters listen to my Mom's 1996 recording of “I am a Child of God” in French.  Soeur Felcy said, "Yoh Mama vohce es sweet!"  I replied, "Merci!" Then we sang a little bit of the song together. :)  

Feb18:   I was very tired and slept throughout the day... Oops!  Before dinner, Hna. Butler did my hair, creating a cool twisty half-up-do thing. Notice how frizzy my hair is! My district received a new Elder: Elder Hall who had already completed 3 weeks in the Provo MTC, and now will finish his last 3 weeks here in the CCM.  He's also going to Puerto Rico.  
New hair design with twisty knot.
Feb 19: Elder Cornish from the 70 gave a morning devotional.  My district sang the EFY Medley as a musical number before he spoke.  His talk was about missionary work and how simple and important it is.  Afterwards, when he shook my hand, he asked me where I’m from (and what stake).  It turns out he used to be in the Bonneville Provo Stake!  :)  

Feb 20:  My good friend and CCM instructor Hermana Laureano had me read aloud from the Spanish PMG while she did my nails for fun.  HA! During break, Hna Burgess asked me to massage her back.  We talked while I helped her get the knots out.  :)  

Feb 21:  (TODAY!)  I got some letters and emails! :D Gracias to Mom, Melissa, Elder David, Jonathan, and Elder Pena!  I went to the temple here a second time. It was really good! We did a session in English (I did a Biala Lormeau from Carrefour, Ouest, who is a French ancestor of Soeur Formetus here in the CCM!), and then did sealings with Pres and Sis. Freestone.  We each did 2 names. We helped seal families from France, Holland, Norway, England, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Canada, and America.  It was amazing!!!  

I love and miss you all SOO much!  Until next week!!   Hermana Bean
Hermana Sullivan and Hermana Bean

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Feb 14, 2013 Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

This second week was MUCHO better! :)  I had more confidence, I felt calmer and more focused. I participated more, and I rewarded myself for the Spanish I was learning daily. :)  My District, we're laughing way more, and I'm asking all the right questions to understand Spanish sentence structure and stuff. :)  My District, we LOVE saying "Oreos" with a Spanish accent.    

All the Latinos have told me they like my eyes because they are clear and light. We hermanas LOVE calling Elder Gallagher "Alder Gal-eh-gerr" at least 20x a day.  "Ahh mi madre" means "oh my gosh!"  We say that all the time, and "entonces" means "soo..." :)  

Since the elders and sisters stay arm’s length from each other (good rule) and don't touch except for handshakes, we do hand-hugs at the end of a handshake.  As you give someone a handshake you finish by patting the tip of your thumb on the back of the other person's hand.  It’s sort of like giving a person a pat on the back, and is a big, BIG hit here in the CCM. The Latinos especially think it is funny!

By the way, there are pigeons in the DR EVERYWHERE!  The "palomas" mock David ;) (family joke from when twin David tried -unsuccessfully- to catch pigeons while our family was in San Francisco for a Kodaly choir event back when I was in 5th grade in 2004).

After a very sad, heart-felt goodbye to the three other districts that left Tues. Feb 12th, my companions and I moved into the bigger bedroom to join the other 2 hermanas in our district.

I now have THE BEST place to sleep!  Top bunk, next to the ONLY clear HUGE window that overlooks the entire temple, a forest of palm trees, and the ocean.  I really lucked out.  :)  And my close friend Rosa slept there too, when she was a missionary back around 2007.  
View from Hermana Bean's window

Santo Domingo Temple at night
Three of my teachers and I were talking Wednesday, and they asked me to sing a chorus of "Then You Look At Me" and "God Bless the USA." They were talking in Spanish really fast, all excited, afterwards, and it was a little funny to me.  They didn't know I “sing” sing.
CCM Sister Missionaries
My district went shopping Tuesday.  We sister got new PJs, chips and chocolate.  The Elders got 10x more food!! 

Today (Feb 14) we had Elder Rasband of the 70 come.  I conducted my district's special musical number (half sung in Spanish) and it was a huge hit!  Elder Rasband had me read scriptures standing next to him, and involved me in his lesson a lot (but then again, I was sitting front and center).  Elder Rasband told a story about trying to make missionary assignments with the guidance of President Eyring a couple years ago. 
Anyway, life is good, and I'm enjoying the CCM more all the time. :)  We'll see what this next week brings.  

Happy Valentine's Day!!  Write me!  Love, Hermana Bean

"Forest" of Palm Trees
P.S. I know the Lord is helping me a lot.  He is blessing me with small and large things. One of my blessings is getting to sleep by the window which overlooks the beautiful lit-up temple each night, and seeing the incredible view of the ocean and palm trees every morning.  SOOO pretty.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Feb 7, 2013 Humility+Faith+Diligence

I'm here!
President & Sister Freestone with Hermana Bean

The MTC (Mission Training Center) President, President Freestone, is very supportive and is helping me adjust.  It's definitely harder than I thought it would be, and I have to admit, I’m homesick, but I'm working on well as getting used to Spanish language immersion—! J

I have 2 companions (I’m in a threesome): Hermana Sullivan and Hermana Butler.  There are 9 of us in our District: five sister missionaries (me, plus Hermanas Sullivan, Butler, Burgess and Parades) plus four elders (Elders Gallagher, Nadauld, Cadogan and Van De Venter).  My companion Hermana Sullivan is helping me with my Spanish—answering my many questions.  She is so sweet.  Very kind.  Both my companions are fun to be with.  I'm getting used to carrying around heavy amounts of books!  It’s a little bit like being back in school, school, school...!    
This is how a typical day goes: food, Spanish, English, Spanish, English, food, Spanish, English, food, and... silence (a.k.a. sleep!). Try saying that super fast! Ha, ha! Hermana Butler and I sleep on the top bunks; Hermana Sullivan and Hermana Parades sleep on the bottom bunks.  Among other things, I’m starting to get used to living out of a suitcase! J

There is a small cafeteria with some good food!  In fact, the food is great – the USA bananas can't compete with the DR's bananas.  DR’s are WAY better.  The MTC (we call it the CCM which stands for Centro Capacitacion Misional) is so-ooo air conditioned I'm basically wearing my sweater everyday.  Mom-! Maybe I should've kept my winter coat after all?!?!  Hahaha!

We've been outside a couple times (the humidity is better than I thought).  Outside it is blue, green, and white.  It's beautiful!

Service Project Photo
Monday Feb. 4: We all dressed in jeans and t-shirts and walked all the way to the University to pick up TONS of trash!  I saw several geckos, a lot of hungry stray dogs (hopefully I don't see any cats like that), and heard lots of cars honking (about every couple of seconds).  We missionaries get honked at A LOT!  During our service project, I started to get to know a Latino named Elder Peña. He knows English, and is very kind. He's helping me with my Spanish, and I'm helping him with his English. We're good friends.   
Tuesday Feb 5:  I visited with Sister Merino and teacher Hermana Laureano.  Both meetings were very spiritual, helpful, and comforting. 
Hermana Bean with CCM teacher Hermana Laureano
I walked around the Santo Domingo Temple for the first time, too!  We (District 4) have already started our investigator practices.  They're coming along!  I'm at the level of reading scriptures, reading my “baby/beginner sentence” testimony, and greeting at the door.  My other two companions say all the rest:  i.e., the entire lesson (they’ve had some Spanish before this)!!  But I'm doing what I can.  Here's the thing: I learn and memorize mostly by watching.  That's why I color code flashcards; that's why I love ASL, etc.  Learning Spanish is NOT like that at all, so I'm struggling.  But, the longer I'm here, the easier it's getting, so each day is a little bit better than the one before.

Outside the Santo Domingo Temple

Thursday Feb 7:  Today is P-Day!  (P-Day stands for preparation day).  We went to
the Santo Domingo temple!  The initiatories were my favorite part, where I got to be proxy for four girls (one back in 1679).  What was extra special was that so many languages are spoken here: Spanish, English and French!  Beforehand, a Sister Marie Cuenot told me she knows Spanish, French, English, and a little bit of Arabic!  She's grandmother-age but very sparky, chipper, and big-eyed!  I told her my mom went to France for her mission (1982-83), and I greeted her, "Salut, Soeur Cuenot!"  She got super excited and asked if she could speak in French when I came to her.  "I'll do French foh yoh Mama!"  This made me very happy!  :)  So... I heard Spanish from a Latina, English from an American, and French from Soeur Cuenot.  :)  Listening to 3 languages, one after another, whispering and serving in the Santo Domingo Temple was very special to me. No matter what language, it's the same service.  :)  We did an endowment session (in English) and at the end, a Jamaican gentleman greeted me.  It was a wonderful and different experience.  Before leaving the temple, a temple worker (who also works at the CCM) named Hermano Cuevas, showed us sister missionaries a special assembly room in the temple that seats about 500.  He told us that only 5 temples have that room. Afterwards, outside, my District took pictures.  :)
That's my first week at the CCM!  I love and miss you all soooo much!

Love, Hermana Emily Bean

P.S.  Suggestion: do a good deed today!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Update about these recent updates....

Note from Emily's mom:  Hello, Friends and Family who are following Emily's blog.  I've been behind getting these pictures posted, but here they are (at long last!).  I've entered quite a few posts in the last 2 days, so you may want to scroll back to nearly the beginning to get caught up.  Hermana Bean has sent several emails which I'm working on getting posted, so very soon you will be able to read her blog letters which share her thoughts and reactions to her experiences in the "CCM" (Centro de Capacitacion Misional - i.e., the Missionary Training Center) where she is currently studying Spanish.

Jan 31 - Feb 1, 2013 Flights to Dominican Republic

Jonathan points out Hermana Bean's
flight is on time.

The tiny speck glinting right of the fading moon is a plane
heading off into the morning sky.  Maybe it's hers.

Flight 1492 took Hermana Bean to Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas.
Departed 8:24am MST, arrived 11:15am CST.
Flight 1090 from Texas to Miami, Florida.
Departed 3:47pm CST, arrived 6:58pm EST
On the flight to Miami Emily made a new friend ("C") who later called Emily's mother
to share what a lovely daughter and blessing she sees that Emily is, and to let Lisa know that Emily sends her love.  Thank you, "C," for your kind words and timely encouragement!  God bless you.

Final flight! AA Flight 2067:  Departed Miami at 9:56pm EST,
arrived Santo Domingo, D.R. 12:40am AST - Atlantic Standard Time
on Feb 1, 2013.  She's there!

Jan 31, 2013 Bon Voyage at the SLC airport

Early morning on Jan 31 we drove Hermana Bean to the Salt Lake City airport.  Several family members gathered there to send her off with hugs and a final farewell. 
Outside the SLC airport

Her suitcases were well below
airline limits.

It's blurry--but there she goes
into the airport.

Family waiting to say goodbye

Jonathan took this shot.

Emily handing off her red winter coat to Mom!
She won't need this in Puerto Rico or any of the
Caribbean islands she may be assigned to serve. :)
Family "paparazzi" 
with Aunt Kim

With Christy
with Jonathan
With Aunt Jody and Uncle Mark
With Grandma

About to go through security

Last minute tears

Final hug, and whispered "I love you."